Former England captain and Man City defender Houghton to retire

LONDON:

Former England captain and Manchester City defender Steph Houghton will retire at the end of the current Women’s Super League season, she said on Wednesday.

Houghton, 35, has 121 caps for England. She was named England captain in 2014 and went on to lead her country to a bronze medal at the 2015 World Cup.

“Taking the decision to retire is such a difficult thing to do. Whilst age comes to every player, it makes it no easier having to say the words out loud. Football has been my life, my passion and I have loved the career I have Had,” she said in a statement posted on social media.

“I will always be humbled to have made so many domestic appearances, to have captained my country and to have represented England and Team GB in so many international tournaments,” she added. Houghton, who began her career with Sunderland, joined City from Arsenal in 2014 and has since made nearly 150 league appearances.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to represent Sunderland, Leeds Utd, Arsenal and to have been on the incredible journey that I have been on with Manchester City over the past ten years. “I hope that I leave the game in a better place than when I started, and that I have contributed in some small way to giving the girls of tomorrow a better future in football,” she added.

England women’s coach Sarina Wiegman said Houghton deserves high praise for a remarkable career. “I know she has been inspiring so many young girls to follow in her footsteps,” Wiegman said.

“I wish her the very best with whatever comes next.” Kay Cossington, the FA’s Women’s Technical Director, called Houghton an icon in the women’s game and said she will be remembered as one of England’s greats.

“She is recognized across the world of women’s football and her impact is far greater than her historic achievements on the pitch, the exemplary standards she set with England and within her club environments have been a source of huge inspiration for so many seeking to progress, Cossington said.

Cossington said the FA would pay tribute to Houghton at an upcoming Lionesses home match.

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